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Eleven Outstanding OU Alumni and Supporters Recognized with Regents’ Alumni Award


Eleven Outstanding OU Alumni and Supporters Recognized with Regents’ Alumni Award

October 2, 2023

NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma recognized the 2023 Regents’ Alumni Award recipients during a ceremony on Sept. 29 on the OU Norman campus. Regents’ Alumni Award honorees are chosen for their extraordinary dedication and service to the university.

Presented by the OU Board of Regents and OU Alumni Association, the award celebrates the profound way OU alumni and supporters shape the university’s vibrant future. A committee formed by the Alumni Association reviews nominations submitted by alumni, friends and OU faculty and staff to select each year’s awardees. The recipients receive a commemorative plaque in recognition of their exceptional contributions, and their names are permanently inscribed on a plaque displayed in the historic Oklahoma Memorial Union.

This year’s recipients include John T. Argo, Monica Basu, Jarrod Calhoun, Michael S. Cookson, M.D., Chuck and Mary Ellen Doyle, Martha Ferretti, Frank Hill, Kirk Alan Jones, Louis Don Smitherman and Bruce Wilkinson.


OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. and John T. Argo.

John T. Argo, a native of Norman and third generation Sooner, serves as vice president of resource and business development at Continental Resources. Argo earned his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering and an Executive MBA in Energy from OU.

In collaboration with his team at Continental Resources, Argo has helped transform the company into the largest private oil and gas producer in the United States. Since joining Continental in 2014, he and his team have helped execute over $10 billion worth of acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures. Prior to joining Continental, Argo worked for HighMount E&P, Dominion E&P and Anadarko Petroleum.

Argo is committed to the Sooner spirit of giving back and to the development of future energy leaders. He serves on the Board of Visitors for OU’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy and the Industry Advisory Board for the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering. He has aided in connecting Continental Resources leadership with discussions regarding new programs and opportunities that will guide the direction of Mewbourne College and the university.

He and his wife, Aleisha Argo, a fellow Sooner, recently established and endowed a scholarship in support of OU students in pursuit of energy or business degrees with special consideration to those who volunteer or work on campus.


OU Regent Natalie Shirley, OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. and Monica Basu.

Monica Basu is a champion of OU-Tulsa initiatives and was involved in the inception of the OU-TU School of Community Medicine. She is a former member of the OU-Tulsa Advisory Board and the OU Health Harold Hamm Diabetes Center Board of Advisors.

Basu currently serves as a senior program officer at the George Kaiser Family Foundation, where she is responsible for community health and higher education initiatives. She joined the foundation in 2007 after several years in the private sector, where she held various management positions in the financial services and telecommunications industries.

During her tenure at the foundation, she has played an important role in the state’s health initiatives, including the State Health Information Exchange and being one of the leaders of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. She was a member of the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission and fundraising co-chair for the Greenwood Rising History Center. 

Basu holds a Master of Business Administration from Duke University and a Master of Science in Health Care Delivery from Dartmouth College. She is a native of India, grew up in four countries and speaks seven languages.


OU Regent Natalie Shirley, OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. and Jarrod Calhoun.

Jarrod Calhoun works for Boeing Defense as the chief engineer for Boeing Special Projects Dallas. He is also the Boeing/OU executive deputy for all university engagement activities, which support curriculum enrichment, student organizations, outreach and retention programs, student projects and scholarships.

He is a member of the Cherokee Nation and a Sequoyah Fellow of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

In addition to other board roles in OU’s Gallogly College of Engineering, Calhoun serves as chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board on Diversity, the goal of which is to increase the number of highly valued and influential engineers.

Calhoun also gives generously of his time to the college, returning to campus throughout the year to speak to first year engineering classes, participating in engineering career fairs, conducting interviews for summer internships and full-time opportunities, judging capstone projects and taking part in various other student programming events.

Calhoun is married to his wife of 21 years, Lindsay Calhoun, who is also a graduate of the Gallogly College of Engineering.


OU Regent Natalie Shirley, OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. and Michael S. Cookson, M.D.

Michael S. Cookson, M.D., is professor and chair of the Department of Urology at the OU College of Medicine and holds the Donald D. Albers Endowed Chair in Urology. He is also the inaugural Chief Surgical Officer for OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center. 

Cookson came to OU in 1980 on a small scholarship and was the first of his family to attend college. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism with honors in 1984, he was accepted into the OU College of Medicine, graduating in 1988. He completed his residency in urology at the University of Texas-San Antonio and then went on to complete a fellowship in Urologic Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. After 15 years on the faculty of Vanderbilt University, he returned to his alma mater in 2013 to chair the Department of Urology and develop a prostate and urologic cancer team at OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center.

Nationally, he serves as a member of the American Urological Association and American Board of Urologists exam committees. He is also a member of the Society for Urologic Oncology and has developed a national benchmark in testing known as the Oncology Knowledge Assessment Examination. He is currently on the editorial board of the AUA Update Series and co-editor of Urology Times. He has served as chair of the AUA’s CPRC Guidelines Panel and vice chair of the American Urological Association/Society of Urological Oncologists Advanced Prostate Cancer Guidelines Panel.

Cookson has been internationally recognized for his outstanding contributions to the field of urologic oncology. He is one of 70 academic urologists nationally to be awarded membership in the prestigious American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons. An accomplished researcher and lecturer, he is the author of over 250 peer-reviewed journal publications and 34 textbook chapters.


OU Regent Natalie Shirley, OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. and Chuck and Marry Ellen Doyle.

Charles “Chuck” T. Doyle earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in management at the University of Oklahoma in 1956 and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston in 1961. Mary Ellen Hipp Doyle received her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from OU in 1956. The couple met at OU and married following graduation.

Chuck is founding director and chairman emeritus of the Board of Directors of Texas First Bank, and chairman of Texas Independent Bancshares of Texas City. He spent 21 years at Visa Inc. and is a former member of the Board of Directors of Visa USA and Visa International. As founding director of Visa Inc., Chuck was a member of the Governance Committee of the various Visa Associations that developed the construct for the Visa Inc. IPO with 406 million shares raising $17.9 billion in March of 2008.

Chuck was elected and served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 1985 to 1991 and was the first community banker ever to serve on the Federal Advisory Council of the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. from 1996 to 1998. He joined the Board of Directors of CBG Holdings in May 2011. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the publicly traded Q2 E-Banking, where he currently serves on the audit, finance, compliance and information systems committees.

He was named Texas Banker of the Year in 1987 and was inducted into the Texas Bankers’ Hall of Fame in 2015 for outstanding service to the banking industry.

At OU, the Doyles are founding members at the director level of the Arthur B. Adams Society in the Michael F. Price College of Business and founding members of the H.H. Herbert Society in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Chuck is a former member of the Price College Board of Advisors.

The couple are longtime, enthusiastic and generous supporters of OU Athletics, particularly for the Sooner Club and the expansion and renovation of Gaylord Family Oklahoma – Memorial Stadium.

The couple established scholarships in both Gaylord College and Price College and donated the large bronze eagle in the Clary Lounge located on the first floor of Price Hall. The Mary Ellen Hipp Doyle Conference Room in the Dean’s Suite in Gaylord Hall and the William H. Keown Classroom in Price Hall are named in their honor.


OU Regent Natalie Shirley, OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. and Martha Ferretti.

Professor Emeritus Martha J. Ferretti earned her Master of Public Health from OU in 1977. As an educator, administrator and visionary, she served the OU College of Allied Health Department of Rehabilitation Sciences for over 40 years.

The College of Allied Health prospered and became nationally recognized in large part because of her progressive leadership in education and the inclusion of contemporary research to seek new treatments and validate practice.

She has spent decades as a creative and visionary leader, working tirelessly to improve local, regional and national awareness of the many accomplishments of OU and the College of Allied Health. Through her involvement in university leadership, education and service, Ferretti was able to skillfully bring together like-minded faculty, alumni, students and community members to accomplish important and lasting initiatives.

Ferretti and her husband, Joseph J. Ferretti, Ph.D., have widely supported OU Health Sciences students, particularly through their two named scholarships. 


OU Regent Natalie Shirley, OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. and Frank Hill.

Frank Hill is a veteran real estate and business attorney with McAfee & Taft in Oklahoma City, where he has played critical behind-the-scenes roles in many of Oklahoma City’s highest profile projects and attractions, including the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Oklahoma City’s National Basketball Association franchise, Devon Tower, 21c Hotel and First National Center.

A native Oklahoman, Hill launched a lifetime of championing OU while still working toward his bachelor’s degree in accounting. He served as president and director of the Bizzell Library Society and as outside general counsel for many years to the University of Oklahoma Foundation.

Hill was instrumental in establishing the Kenneth E. McAfee Chair in Law at the OU College of Law with an innovative matching funds component that was generated by lawyers and clients of the firm. He also helped establish endowed scholarships and program funds at the university for his father (Orval “Ike” Hill), Galand Kramer, Reid Robison, Shannon Self and others.

Hill and his wife, Bette Jo Hill, have been President’s Associates since 1986, as well as Sooner Heritage Scholarship donors and supporters of OU’s Athletics Department.

After graduating from law school at the University of Texas at Austin, Hill served as a captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and earned a Master of Laws degree in taxation from George Washington University before moving his family to Fort Sill and then entering private practice in Oklahoma City. He joined McAfee & Taft in 1970 and has been an integral part of the firm for more than 50 years.

Hill’s achievements as a lawyer have earned him election into the prestigious American College of Real Estate Lawyers, as well as perennial recognition in leading industry publications, including Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America and Oklahoma Super Lawyers.

In 2015, Hill was honored with the prestigious Dean A. McGee Award by Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. for his pivotal role in helping build (and rebuild) downtown Oklahoma City’s cultural and economic foundations.


OU Regent Natalie Shirley, OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. and Kirk Alan Jones.

Kirk Alan Jones is a native of Wewoka, Oklahoma. He enrolled at the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 1984, where he quickly became involved in student life by joining the Black People’s Union Mass Gospel Choir, pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and participating in several student- and community-based organizations. As a student, he held leadership positions in several organizations, including being the polemarch (president) of his fraternity and the leader of the Black Business Association. He graduated from OU in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance.

After graduating from OU and a quick one-year stint at a large regional bank in Dallas, he continued his education by obtaining a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin in 1991. After graduate school, he joined the finance development program at Texas Instruments where he completed rotational assignments in Austin, Texas; Attleboro, Massachusetts; and Bedford, England. Jones’ permanent assignment at Texas Instruments was with the corporate financial planning and analysis team, which would shape the balance of his professional career.

He went on to join Accenture, which eventually led to a career with global IT consulting firm, Avanade, a joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft. Although Jones worked in several capacities over the years, his passion was the Corporate FP&A function where he designed, implemented and led the activity for Avanade for over 15 years. After more than 23 combined years in the Avanade/Accenture family, he retired in the summer of 2021.

Jones continues to be engaged with OU on multiple fronts. He has been a member of the President’s Associates program for over 20 years and currently serves as the chairman of the President’s Associates Council. Jones is a board member of the National Black OU Alumni Society and serves on the Board of Visitors for both the Henderson Scholars Program and the Department of Finance in the Price College of Business.


OU Regent Natalie Shirley, OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. and Louis Don Smitherman.

While a student at OU, Louis Don Smitherman played both football and baseball. As a senior tailback for the Sooner football team, Smitherman had the opportunity to play both offense and defense in his final game against Kansas State. He was a part of the 1985 national championship football team.

As a fully engaged student at OU, Smitherman was a football letterman and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, the Varsity O Association, the OU Black Society and the Black Law Students Association. He continues to champion his alma mater as an OU Foundation trustee and supporter of many areas of the university, including the Henderson Scholars program, OU Athletics, OU College of Law, National OU Black Alumni Norris G. Williams Endowed Scholarship program and Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

Throughout his career, Smitherman’s service and support for his community, the university and the state of Oklahoma include service as staff attorney for Congressman J.C. Watts and as Oklahoma Merit Protection Commissioner. He is a recipient of the Alma Wilson Award from the Oklahoma Bar Association for his significant contributions to improving the lives of Oklahoma children through his work in the legal studies program at Douglass High School. He currently serves on the board of the Oklahoma Association on Problem Gambling and Gaming.

Smitherman and his wife, Carla Dier Smitherman, a graduate of OU, contribute to several university initiatives, including scholarships and programs that support students.


OU Regent Natalie Shirley, OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. and Bruce Wilkinson.

Bruce Wilkinson earned his Bachelor of Arts degree through the Arts and Sciences Planned Program in 1966, and a Juris Doctorate in 1969 from the OU College of Law. He went on to earn a Master of Laws degree from the University of London in 1970.

During his career, Wilkinson has served as CEO for several New York Stock Exchange companies and worked with numerous international trade companies.

Wilkinson has been a driving force in connecting the College of Law, OU Athletics and the Price College of Business to present a unique speakers’ series, educational workshop and internship program coalescing around investment and securities fraud. Along with his wife, Susanne Wilkinson, Wilkinson established the Wilkinson Family Speaker Series in the College of Law.

He works to connect the university with national experts and nonprofit advocacy groups to endorse the vision of offering a cross-campus, multi-college and community-oriented approach to identify and avoid investment dangers; represent clients who have suffered them; and establish advocacy and policy work on both fronts.

Additionally, the Wilkinsons support scholarships for graduate and international students studying architecture at the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture.

At OU, Wilkinson serves on the Board of Visitors for the College of Law and is a former member of the Board of Visitors for the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture.

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit

About the University of Oklahoma Foundation

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